Windows group policies in the real world

Trevor's technical tidbits


Sysadmin Blog I admit: group policy is a pretty dry subject. If you are reading an article about group policy, you aren’t here for my sense of humour. This means that you are seeking a few technical tidbits. In Windows, it's not easy to do this.

Group policy changes with every iteration of Windows. Some group policy topics can be approached in a general sense, but to really have a conversation about Group Policy Objects (GPOs) then we need to set some boundaries. I’ll be talking a lot about NT5 - Windows 2000, 2003 and all flavours of XP - and NT6. Bear in mind that I haven’t really used Windows 2000 in about five years. I am assuming that most of what works in 2003 and XP applies to 2000 - primarily because they really weren’t that different.

I am not going to make any such assumptions about NT6. While NT6 consists of Vista, 7, Server 2008 and Server 2008R2, I am going to pretend that Vista and Server 2008 simply didn’t happen. I’ll be honest; by and large, I skipped both Vista and Server 2008. Admittedly I did use them, but only enough to be very glad that I stuck with XP, and now I am deep into Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7.

Certain features, such as bit locker or Hyper-V are native to the NT6 set of operating systems, and lacking in NT5. To manage these features, GPOs were added to the collection that existed with NT5; there are also new systems management features in NT6.

The first feature: including the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) in the default install of NT6. For those of you who remember Server 2000 - or Server 2003 before you downloaded and installed the GPMC - group policy management pre-GPMC was a terrifying nightmare. If you had a single inheritance or precedence problem, you could easily spend hours fighting with your GPOs. GPMC, combined with Resultant Set of Policy (RSoP) make administering GPOs significantly easier.

GPO logging is similar. While GPO events could be tracked previously, far more information about deployment is now recorded as a matter of course in NT6 event logs. The error messages are still cryptic or incomprehensible. Google them.

Next: GPOs relating to printers. I’ve not tried it yet, but there’s plenty of literature on using NT6 to push network printers out via GPOs. This is really an extension of the excellent Server 2003 R2 Print Management Console (PMC). If you are using NT6, you can use the PMC to connect to your print server of choice. Just right-click and “deploy via GPO”

While the PMC offers Server 2003 R2 the ability to do nifty things like host NT6 printer drivers on an NT5 print server, you can’t push network printers to NT5 operating systems via the PMC. At least, not out of the box. If you dig around in Server 2008’s system32 folder, you’ll run across “pushprinterconnections.exe.” Add this to a logon script, and it will push these printers out to NT6.

Another neat “addition” is that folder redirection for NT6 systems has been expanded from allowing you to redirect only five folders to ten. This is still a long way from the granular control that I want, but it’s a baby step in the right direction.


Other stories you might like

  • Cerebras sets record for largest AI model on a single chip
    Plus: Yandex releases 100-billion-parameter language model for free, and more

    US hardware startup Cerebras claims to have trained the largest AI model on a single device powered by the world's largest Wafer Scale Engine 2 chip the size of a plate.

    "Using the Cerebras Software Platform (CSoft), our customers can easily train state-of-the-art GPT language models (such as GPT-3 and GPT-J) with up to 20 billion parameters on a single CS-2 system," the company claimed this week. "Running on a single CS-2, these models take minutes to set up and users can quickly move between models with just a few keystrokes."

    The CS-2 packs a whopping 850,000 cores, and has 40GB of on-chip memory capable of reaching 20 PB/sec memory bandwidth. The specs on other types of AI accelerators and GPUs pale in comparison, meaning machine learning engineers have to train huge AI models with billions of parameters across more servers.

    Continue reading
  • Zendesk sold to private investors two weeks after saying it would stay public
    Private offer 34 percent above share price is just the thing to change minds

    Customer service as-a-service vendor Zendesk has announced it will allow itself to be acquired for $10.2 billion by a group of investors led by private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, investment company Permira, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

    The decision is a little odd, in light of the company's recent strategic review, announced on June, which saw the board unanimously conclude "that continuing to execute on the Company's strategic plan as an independent, public company is in the best interest of the Company and its stockholders at this time."

    That process saw Zendesk chat to 16 potential strategic partners and ten financial sponsors, including a group of investors who had previously expressed conditional interest in acquiring the company. Zendesk even extended its discussions with some parties but eventually walked away after "no actionable proposals were submitted, with the final bidders citing adverse market conditions and financing difficulties at the end of the process."

    Continue reading
  • Singapore promises 'brutal and unrelentingly hard' action on dodgy crypto players
    But welcomes fast cross-border payments in central bank digital currencies

    In the same week that it welcomed the launch of a local center of excellence focused on crypto-inspired central bank digital currencies, Singapore's Monetary Authority (MAS) has warned crypto cowboys they face a rough ride in the island nation.

    The center of excellence (COE) was established by the Mojaloop Foundation – an open source effort to create payment platforms to make digital financial services accessible to those access to banks. The COE aims to "accelerate financial inclusion in emerging markets" through hackathons, workshops and pilot projects while examining expanded CBDCs payment capabilities."

    Singapore's sovereign wealth fund has invested in Mojaloop, and MAS chief fintech officer Sopnendu Mohanty serves as a board advisor and the authority provides representatives to the Foundation's working group, alongside folks from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, and more.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022